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May 18, 2010

Crowdsourced effort seeks to save 4-year-old's life

Posted: 04:47 PM ET

Seeking help for a charity or cause via social networking isn't new.

But a current campaign to save the life of a 4-year-old boy has taken off in a big way, hoping to capitalize on crowdsourcing and social media to help him beat the odds.

And according to a note on the group's website, there's a chance that it's already worked.

Devan Tatlow, whose family lives in Washington, D.C., has a rare form of leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. Complicating that is his mixed south Indian-northern European ancestry - which supporters say gives him a 1-in-200,000 chance of finding a match.

Doctors say they have less than 12 weeks.

Instead of trying to beat those odds the normal way, his family and their friends went online and turned their quest viral.

Rob Kenny, Devan's godfather, said hundreds of people have taken active roles drumming up support in what has become a global effort. While Devan lives in Washington, Kenny is in the United Kingdom, the Facebook campaign is being run out of Hong Kong and active recruitment drives are happening in Mexico, Singapore and other places.

Their message has been tweeted by the thousands on Twitter, and probably even more people have mentioned Devan's cause in their Facebook statuses.

Their efforts have been promoted throughout the online community through posts on the Huffington Post, tech blog Gizmodo and other sites.

The group is urging people to register at Be The Match, in hopes they'll be a match for Devan or someone else.

On Tuesday came some good news: there's a chance their efforts have paid off.

A message on the site's homepage said "a potential cord blood match" for Devan has been located. The group is awaiting confirmation that it truly is a match.

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Filed under: health • Internet • social-networking sites

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Sarah   May 18th, 2010 5:42 pm ET

I think using todays technology is a brilliant idea to help, it gets the word out and more people will probably know about it. Great idea and i hope it works.

awe struck   May 19th, 2010 8:16 am ET

I hope and pray this little boy can get the help he needs. nobody deserves to have their life cut down so early.

alice   May 19th, 2010 12:40 pm ET

Good luck little one. Hope he have your match. I will pray for you.

alice   May 19th, 2010 12:41 pm ET

sorry "Hope you have your match." 🙂

thoriq   May 19th, 2010 12:58 pm ET

wish you to find a match

Robert   May 19th, 2010 1:30 pm ET

..... but of course, Facebook and Twitter are stupid and evil, and should be taken out, and people with causes like these would have to appeal to the local media and maybe catch a break on international media to get their message out, probably with much less reach and not within the dreaded timeframe.

John Sunderman   May 22nd, 2010 4:15 pm ET

I registered back in the mid-1980s to be a blood marrow donor. It is a simple, easy process and could help save a life. Donating blood marrow is not a painful operation although many people have the misconception that it is. PLEASE REGISTER TODAY TO SAVE A LIFE TOMORROW!

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